Friday, April 28, 2017

Beach (or Elsewhere) Reading


Thrillers aren't my usual genre, but I picked up Randy Wayne White's novel Deceived during a recent bookstore foray, motivated by the Florida Book Award. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience to zoom through this novel, buoyed by the pace of the narrative, the quirky characters, and the charming details of Sanibel Island and its vicinity, where I've spent occasional vacations throughout my life.

The main character here is Hannah Smith, fishing guide, part-time private investigator, island girl, plucky heroine, and love interest for another of White's characters, marine biologist Doc Ford. Hannah is savvy, brave, and resourceful--all of which are excellent qualities for someone who finds herself caring for her half-dotty, spunky mother, embarking on a love affair, investigating a historic artifacts/land grab scam and a shady new resident, figuring out who among her new acquaintances she can trust, and escaping from hair-raising situations like being attacked simultaneously by a duo of pit bulls and a gigantic person wielding an axe.

It's a thrill a minute, which made it very entertaining light-ish reading, perfect for holding your attention beside your favorite body of water. I blew through it in a couple of days . . . and it definitely took my mind off worrying and wondering while I spent a lot of hospital time waiting for lab results and procedure outcomes while Kayak Guy (quite unexpectedly) underwent a heart catheterization for a major angina episode. He ended up with a stent to open a blocked artery and a bunch of medications. I ended up with the perfect distraction.

Excerpt:

"Anyone up there?" Then added a lie in case I had cornered an intruder. "The police are here! We're worried about you, Miz Helms."

The silence I expected was jolted by a new sound coming from outside the house; a distant noise that touched my ears as the random snaring of a drum. Then the sound deepened and took form, and I thought, Barking dogs! Dogs coming toward the house at a run; a slathering chorus I recognized from hunting with my Uncle Jake in the Everglades as a girl. It was the bellow of catch dogs that had picked up the scent and were on the heels of game.

Pit bulls. The Helms dogs had returned.

Dear god, I thought, remembering: You left the front door open!

Note: I read this as part of my quest to read all the Florida Book Award winners. It counts towards the 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge and as the letter S in the Where are You Reading? Challenge.

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